Franchising Is Up Down Under

Franchising’s boom includes Australia, according to a report from down under.
Franchising Australia 2014, collated by Griffith University and sponsored by the Franchise Council of Australia, found there were 1160 business format franchisors operating in Australia, with the sector employing 460,000 people and having an estimated total sales turnover of $144 billion.
Impressively, between 2012, while the overall number of Australian businesses has been in decline, the franchise sector grew by an estimated 6000 franchise units, representing a net increase of 8.2 per cent.
Just as we happily share our vast point of sale experience and expertise with startup owners in order to help them make the best decisions from the very beginning, we at Sintel Systems are happy to share articles and commentary about the perceptions and reality of the risks involved in a career change into franchising — a major area of our point of sale (POS) expertise.
In his Sydney Morning Herald post, Five Things To Look For In A Franchise, Nigel Brown writes, “Impressively, between 2012, while the overall number of Australian businesses has been in decline, the franchise sector grew by an estimated 6000 franchise units, representing a net increase of 8.2 per cent.”
Brown notes, however, that not all franchises are created equal. Here are five things you should look for before investing in a franchise business, based on information supplied by the Franchise Council of Australia and a straw poll of franchisees in the trenches:
A Resilient Business Model
• “The franchisor doesn’t have to have been around for a set period of time but you want to see some sort of track record,” say Craig Bruty, owner of Flinders Lane, Melbourne, Bakers Delight. “I was confident about buying a Bakers Delight because they’d been around for 30 years and because they sold a product there’s a demand for every day of the year.”
• “Every business is trying to sell something,” says Maria Varkevisser, owner of the PACK & SEND franchise in Chemside, Queensland. “But some products or services are in greater demand than others. I was confident investing in PACK & SEND because people will always need to have items packed up and couriered places.”
Training and Support
• “Much of the appeal of franchising lies in the pre-existing support network,” says Kym De Britt, general manager of the Franchise Council of Australia. “A good franchise brand will consider product and service training paramount and offer franchisees induction training and ongoing refresher courses. On top of that, a good franchise brand will provide ongoing support in the field, working with the principals to make sure their business is a success.”
• While established systems are useful, Catherine Gerhardt, who launched the first Australian Kidproof franchise in Melbourne in 2010, warns against getting involved with overly rigid franchisors. “Kidproof is a child and family safety education business that started in Canada and therefore used North American spelling and idioms,” she says. “Understandably, franchisors always want to keep things as consistent as possible. However, if you are trying to make a go of a franchise business in a different culture, there needs to be flexibility to make the necessary adjustments that suit that culture’s ethos.”
Brand Awareness
• “An established brand should be well-recognized in the industry, while an emerging one should have a clear strategy for increasing brand awareness,”  De Britt says. “As a franchisee you’ll be contributing to a joint marketing fund and it should be made clear how those funds are going to be allocated, as well as how franchisees are expected to market to and engage with their local communities.”
• “You’re handing over a certain percentage of your earnings, so you want to be giving them to a smart franchisor who is going to be making intelligent decisions,” says Briony Vince, owner of preschool exercise business Ready Steady Go Kids in Melbourne. “Are they spending franchisees’ money in a way you as a franchisee would approve of? Are they building a strong brand that’s going to drive customers to the individual franchisee’s businesses?”
A Franchisor You Respect
• Brothers-in-law Kunal Shah and Mohit Patel co-own two franchises, a 7-Eleven and a Beaumont Tiles store in Blacktown, Sydney. They believe trust is central to the franchisee-franchisor relationship. “There will always be instances of franchisors doing things that may not seem beneficial to franchisees, but you need to trust that the franchisor knows what it is doing, that they have the resources to do the appropriate market research and forecasting,” Shah says.
• “If you select a franchisor that shares your values you are less likely to have clashes down the track,” Vince says. “You’ve got to be confident you’ll fit in as part of the network,” Varkvisser says. “Are you going to be comfortable working with the people you’ll be dealing with? Do they have similar standards of integrity to yours?”
Happy Franchisees
• “If you’re going to make a commitment to a franchise business, you want to make sure it’s a smart investment from a financial and lifestyle perspective,” De Britt says. “A franchisor should encourage you to speak to their franchisees and you should take that opportunity to understand what your day-to-day life will look like if you proceed and how that fits with your expectations.”
Brown concludes the post by writing, “It’s a lot easier to pass on a franchise business than it is to extricate yourself once you’ve bought one, so make sure to do your research and walk away if your criteria aren’t being met.”
For more insights into the franchise-seeking mindset, check out our related posts, A Franchise Personality Fit For A King, Asked and Answered: 107 Franchisee Questions for Franchisors, Franchise Coach Sees A World Of Opportunities, If You Ask The Right Questions , Mitigate Your Risk By Hiring A Franchise Attorney, Size Up Your Franchise Opportunities, and Franchisees Have It. Got It?
Sintel enhances our customers’ success by turning point of sale data into strategic decisions, allowing larger franchises to grow and providing startups the foundation for future growth from the very beginning by acting as a franchise incubator, nurturing their businesses for the long haul.
Don’t wait until late in the game to plan for your point of sale system. The benefits of establishing an early relationship with your point of sale company are many — not just in demystifying the process and determining the optimal system — even before you decide on a franchise direction.
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